Put First Things First :: Seek

Jesus said that one must first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness and not seek after the things that may seem to be needful but which really aren’t for these things that are needed are already known to God the heavenly Father.

We ought to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness first. A kingdom implies that there is a king and there are those who belong to the kingdom and those who don’t. Those who belong to the kingdom cherish the provisions, protection, and pleasures of the king. The kingdom of God asserts that God is Sovereign and he is The King and those who belong to his kingdom enjoy his provisions which are satisfying, his protection which is solid and the pleasure of his presence (the joy of the Lord) which is Salvation. To seek his righteousness is to seek Jesus, the righteous Branch, whose name is THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS  (Jeremiah 23:6). To belong to this kingdom means we need to be born again i.e., we should believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be born of the Spirit (John 3:5).

Putting First Things First, we must first be seek to be born again i.e., make THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, for all of our own righteousness are like filthy rags in the sight of a Holy God (Isaiah 64:6). We must seek to be part of God’s kingdom, meaning that we must seek to let God the Sovereign King, be our King and when we do so, all of his provisions (food and clothing that we think are needful), his protection and his pleasure (the Joy of Salvation) will be added to us to enjoy and cherish.

Points to ponder:
You may have been running away from God seeking the provisions that the world has to offer, the wealth, the fame, only to find out that the happiness that comes from these things is short-lived. You may have sought protection in the defenses of man only to find out that the fortress and refuge you received were like egg shells. You may have been seeking the pleasures of companionship with other people only to find out that apart from being with Jesus Christ, everyone is lonely and only in Him is found real peace. Stop running after what the world has to offer and seek Jesus today. Seek the Kingdom of God, letting God be your King, first.

Jesus Christ is The Seeking Shepherd, seeking those who are lost (Luke 15:4; John 10:10-15) and he is seeking you. Seek him when he may still be found (Isaiah 55:6). Putting First Things First, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and Jesus, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

John 3:5 (KJV)
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Playing hide and seek with God

Someone said, “Life is like a game of hide and seek; we are either hiding from God or seeking him.” When we falter and sin, we try to hide our shame, on account of our sins, from God, as did Adam, and fool ourselves into thinking that we can hide from the only One who is not only omnipresent (Psalm 139:8) but also omnipotent (Job 42:2; Luke 1:37) and omniscient (Acts 15:18). There are no hidden (secret) sins with God for every account of our life is laid nakedly bare in front of him (Psalm 90:8). And when we are in dire straits we often seek him, although we must be seeking him first (Matthew 6:33) and at all times and not just at the time of need. Psalm 119:164 records that we must praise him seven times a day implying that we must praise him without ceasing at dawn, morning, brunch, lunch, twilight, evening, night (all day long). The Bible promises that if we seek him we will find him (Matthew 7:7) and let us seek him when he may still be found (Isaiah 55:6-7), now in the time of Grace.

Points to ponder:
Are you/I hiding from God? If you/I are hiding, let us believe in the Lord Jesus and repent of our sins so that he may clean us and clothe us with robes of his righteousness. Are you/I seeking him (all the time)? Remember, one thing is sure, irrespective of whether we seek him or not, he is expectantly yearning for us and seeking us, as did the Father of the prodigal son. Let life not be a game of hide and seek, but a practice of seeking and finding God constantly, for when we seek his face and humble and pray, and turn from our wicked ways (repent), he will hear from heaven and forgive our sins and heal the land (2 Chronicles 7:14). Note, seeking and repentance bring forgiveness and healing; hiding does not.

Psalm 90:8 (KJV)
Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. 

Isaiah 55:6-7 (KJV)
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

No man :: seeks to be not known openly

We see in the Scriptures that the brothers of Jesus were shortsighted who failed to recognize two vital facts. First, they did not recognize who he was and second, they did not recognize what He had come for. His brothers told him to leave to Judaea where the feast of the Tabernacles was to be, since even they did not believe in Him, failing to recognize that the host of the feast was already tabernacling with them. Secondly, they thought that Jesus came to display his works and gain some fame. In fact, they mistook him to be one who sought popularity (John 7:4) stating that no man seeks to be not known openly and does things in secret. Jesus’ work was not to win opinion polls but to win the hearts and souls of all men. Jesus tells them twice that His time had not yet come (John 7:6), that His time had not yet full come (John 7:8). He sends them earlier to the feast and later joins them in the feast in secret, not openly (John 7:10).

What can we learn from this? Jesus’ modus operandi was in exact opposite to that of the world. We do things that we want people to observe and praise us. The extent of our works are often directly related to the praise and popularity that it gains us. We try to do things according to our own schedules and time. We like to be branded as prosperous with power, position, and popularity. Let us pray that we are no longer shortsighted and let us emulate the most popular God who sought not to be popular. The only thing that matters is if we are operating according to God’s calendar, and not our own. Let us seek His kingdom first, for all other things will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33). Let us stop working to be known by men, but by God and if God wants your works to be known by men, He will.

John 7:1-10 (KJV)
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand.
His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
For neither did his brethren believe in him.
Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come.
When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

What Seek Ye?

Zephaniah 2:3 reads Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.

We are advised to seek the following three explicitly –

  1. Seek the LORD.
  2. Seek righteousness and
  3. Seek meekness 

Seek the LORD – To seek the Lord is to not only give him the priority but also preeminence in our lives. In all we are, we are to be as if unto the Lord. We let Him reign in our lives. In seeking the Lord we ensure that we have no other gods before us. We are about his kingdom business, doing what he wants us to do and not just following our own futile pursuits. In the words of Jesus, blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. To seek the Lord is to let Him have PRIORITY and PREEMINENCE in our lives.

Seek Righteousness – To seek righteousness is to seek to be in rightstanding before God and man, to be upright and blameless before God. God wants us to be Holy because God is Holy and we are to conform to his image. In the words of Jesus, Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. To seek righteousness is to seek to be PURE.

Seek meekness  –  To seek meekness is to humble oneself before God and let him increase while we decrease. In the words of Jesus, Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth i.e., all these things [of the earth] shall be added unto you. To seek meekness is to POSITION ourselves and our personal interests only after consideration to God and to others has been given.

Jesus as recorded in Matthew 6:33, said the same thing but in slightly different words when He said that “We must Seek first the kingdom of God (Seek the Lord) and his righteousness (seek righteousness), and all these things shall be added unto you (seek meekness as the meek shall inherit the earth).

The question that remains then is – What seek ye?

Habit #3 – Have no other god before the LORD

Covey’s Habit #3 – Put First Things First
Christian Habit #3 – Have no other god before the LORD

Isn’t it kind of weird that Dr. Covey would list a habit to “put first things first” as habit #3, instead of habit #1?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to list this as habit #1? When it comes to Christian life, to be a highly effective Christian, there is absolutely no  other way than to put God first. The one and only great God (Psalm 86:10), the great ‘I AM’ who does wondrous things, made it very clear, as he commanded his people, that “we should have no other god before the LORD (YHWH)”.

The first requirement for us is that we must be Holy as God is Holy (Leviticus 19:1-2) and His first commandment to us is that we should have no other god before the LORD. This kind of goes hand in hand. To be Holy is to start by having no other god before the LORD. But you and I know that this is easier said, than done. When it comes to decisions of life, we often place God in the back burner. Our families, our work, our hobbies, take more precedence. We at times even end up idolizing other pursuits over God.

Interestingly, the LORD does not want to be just the FIRST, but the FOREMOST; not just a PRIORITY, but PREEMINENT in our lives. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “PREEMINENT” as having paramount rank, dignity, or importance; outstanding, supreme. This word is rooted in the Latin verb stem “-minēre,” meaning “to stand out.”

Point(s) to ponder:

When you think of your life and the pursuits you are after, what is it that comes to your mind. Position, Power, Pleasure, Family, Business,  Work, Sports, Wealth, … Make a list of that and see where in that list is the LORD placed (that is if He even made it into that list).

Now remind yourself of the first of the 10 commandments, that is, we should have no other god before the LORD and also remind yourself of what Jesus said, “Seek Ye FIRST the kingdom of God” and if I may take the liberty to say, all these things (whatever was in your list) will be added unto you, if it is in the permissive will of the LORD. If you’d like, you can now, scratch out the list you made and replace it with just one word – LORD.

To be a highly effective Christian, we ought to make God not just a priority, but PREEMINENT (having paramount rank, dignity and importance) in our lives. He must “stand out” in our lives, so that the cloud of witnesses, those observing us, will see an “outstanding” God in us. We must put first things first, i.e., have no other god before the LORD and put God First.

For related reading, see “The first requirement is to …” and “The Final Matter …

Matthew 6:31-33 (KJV)
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Exodus 20:1-3 (KJV)
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.